Once upon a Time… or is it Once a Year?

For the parents and recipients of First Holy Communion, I’m certain it feels like a “Once upon a Time” experience donned in white suits and dresses carrying heirloom rosary beads to their photo shoot prior to Church. For me, as the owner of The Camera’s Eye, it’s a smiled upon once-a-year tradition.

Sister Anne Quigley of the Church of Epiphany contacts me faithfully, all pun intended, to photograph the group and individual images every year. 2022 marks her 37th First Communion and she actually instructed 8 children whose parents were also under her care years ago.

In my 21st year as a professional photographer, I sometimes ask myself, “what keeps you motivated, Lisa?” I don’t know. I do know, I was so excited to make these images better than any other year and I’m so grateful for that. It keeps the work fun and enjoyable for myself and the kids.

The recipients must have picked up on my energy; even the young boys stepped up to the plate, posing handsomely with their suit coats. They’re usually the least thrilled about this photo session and would rather be suited up for another inning of baseball!

Congratulations to all at the Church of Epiphany, parents and children involved in this year’s First Holy Communion. Interesting in your child’s portraits? Contact me at http://www.thecameraseye.biz or 607 426 6023. I’d love to hear from you!

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The best part of photographing Children

My previous blog post chatted about prepping for First Holy Communion photographs – the “ins and outs” from the parent’s side of things. This post is what we can learn from children during the event. Really, who’s the student here? Me!!!

As I began the morning, I had a whole new lighting set up to make things more protected taking Covid into account. Instead of a wide open set, I had created a bit of a cocoon to slide one child into at time. First boy into the set stops me dead in my tracks, “Ummm, can I say something?” Me, “Sure! are you uncomfortable? Is everything ok?” Boy…”Oh yeah, I just think this is like sooooomething out of a movie- are you gonna clone me in here or anything?” Ha ha ha! What do you say to that?!! This is 7:45 a.m. GREAT way to start my day! I loved it!

I’m about 20 minutes into shooting, and posing is happening effortlessly. I think to myself, these parents are incredible, they must show their children images of “how” they want them to smile, or look serious, etc. So I just ask… “How did you know how to give me such a great little smile just now?” Answer… “Oh I didn’t, I just really like your sneakers and they made me smile.” There you have it – posing is all in the shoes! I do try to “dress down” when working with kids and I had a pair of floral printed Chuck Taylors on… I might need to start a collection!

Continuing with the theme of clothing as it was a hot topic this particular morning, I quickly fell in love with the dresses and asked, “Oh my goodness, this dress is so unique, did you pick it out yourself?” Without a care in the world as if we were in the Royal Palace prepping for Tea, “This one? Ohhhhh Noooooo, Harper picked it out for me, of course!” lol! I really had to keep my composure on THAT one, because THAT was hysterical!

I think it’s important to introduce yourself to children. They have all the same feelings as we do, so I try to let them know whose working with them to create their portrait that day. As more kids arrive and people are buzzing around, I sometimes forget, so I accidentally introduced myself twice to one child. I saw the look on her face,… “did I already tell you that?” Answer… “Um yes, you did, but that’s ok Lisa, because I’ve been wanting to tell you I really like your necklace- it reminds me a Jelly Beans!” PRICELESS!

There’s always a few children that just aren’t comfortable smiling- whether they don’t like their teeth or they’re afraid to be silly because it’s a Church event, who knows why. I try to get them out of the moment by asking about their pets. This morning, I got the entire history of the family pet, as well as the family! “Do you have a pet? A dog or a cat in your house?” Loooong streaming answer… “Yessss. A dog. He’s kinda like Bolt. Acts like Bolt too. Do you know the movie, Bolt?” Me…”uhhhh, Yes, I do- great movie!” Continuing….”oh yeeaaaaah, well he even runs around like him, zoom zoom, like lightning and then we have to yell his name to calm him down. My Grandmother named him by the way. She said we have to name him Bolt and the next thing you knew, we called him Bolt.” At this point, I’d forgotten the whole reason I asked about a pet. “How did we get to talking about Bolt?” “I don’t know. You were taking my photo and asked me if I had any smiles in my back pocket, and then, You asked me about my pets.” RIGHT!!! Schooled again!

I feel thoroughly prepared for next year. I need a new wardrobe, a name tag made of candy, and a fashionista to pick my clothing for the event! What a treat to work with kids!!!

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